We’ve lived in 6 homes and moved 4 times. I’ve been pregnant for nearly 5 years and we’ve had 6 beautiful children. Our love for one another has grown in ways we never expected and God has stretched our faith, carried us through trials, and provided abundant grace along the way. Our 10 years have been full, happy, and sometimes very hard. Many of the days have been long and hard, and yet it all seems to have gone by so quickly!
We talked to each other about exchanging anniversary gifts, but clothes or books or jewelry seemed so…not enough. Ten years is worth celebrating, but what can possibly express 10 years worth of love and life shared? The traditional 10 year anniversary gift is tin…really?
“Hey babe…it’s been an amazing 10 years! Here’s a tin of your favorite tea.” (Not that I wouldn’t enjoy tea…)
I’m not very sentimental and often don’t even remember things like Valentine’s day. Gifts are not my love language. But tin?
“Honey, words can’t express how I feel about being married to you for the last 10 years…but this tin sure says it all!”
It really wouldn’t matter if it were gold instead of tin…gifts are just not enough.
I think the best gifts are the intangible ones — a best friend that is always ready to talk (except sometimes at night because he got up for work at 4am) and who cares whether lawn or voile is a better fabric for a blouse I’m sewing (even though he probably doesn’t know the difference), the memories of time spent together over more than half of our lives (like when he threw my shoe out the second floor window of their house when we were 12), six little kids that challenge us to trust the Lord more everyday (usually because they are running around imitating our sin!)…
The wisdom of the world told us we were throwing away our lives—wasting our potential—by getting married at 19. We heard numerous warnings that our love would not last through military life, that we were too young. My professors expressed disappointment at my choice of marriage over grad school. And without the Lord in our lives, they would have been right.
But one Christian couple, remembering their own young marriage, advised us to go ahead. They told us how being married young allowed them to “grow up” together. Because they were committed to follow Jesus and his plan for marriage, they grew together rather than apart. When their marriage should have failed, it became stronger. They were confident that God would do the same for our relationship if we stayed committed to him.
We are so thankful for their counsel, and the support of our parents at the time. They knew and trusted that God ordains marriage and holds it together. Bonhoeffer says it well:
“God makes your marriage indissoluble, and protects it from every danger that may threaten it from within and without; he will be the guarantor of its indissolubility. It is a blessed thing to know that no power on earth, no temptation, no human frailty, can dissolve what God holds together; indeed, anyone who knows that may say confidently: What God has joined together, can no man put asunder. Free from all the anxiety that is always a characteristic of love, you can now say to each other with complete and confident assurance: We can never lose each other now; by the will of God we belong to each other till death.”
I’m grateful every day for going against the advice of the masses and deciding to “throw my life away.” And I’m grateful to the Lord for holding it all together.